Are you flying yours today?
Interesting to me that so few people make a deal out of flying the U.S. flag on Mothers Day, or Fathers Day, or Christmas or Easter, dates the Flag Code says we should fly the colors.
Are you flying yours today?
Interesting to me that so few people make a deal out of flying the U.S. flag on Mothers Day, or Fathers Day, or Christmas or Easter, dates the Flag Code says we should fly the colors.
In 2022, we may need this post more, to put up with anti-science backlash to the urgency of global heating, the threat of COVID-19, and still, to the defeat of Donald Trump.
You could write it off to pareidolia, once.
Like faces in clouds, some people claimed to see a link. The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, coincided with Lenin’s birthday. There was no link — Earth Day was scheduled for a spring Wednesday, when the greatest number of college students would be on campus.
Now, years later, with almost-annual repeats of the claim from the braying right wing, it’s just a cruel hoax. It’s as much a hoax on the ill-informed of the right, as anyone else. Many of them believe it.
One surefire way to tell an Earth Day post is done by an Earth Day denialist: They’ll note that the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was an anniversary of the birth of Lenin.
Coincidentally, yes, Lenin was born on April 22, on the new style calendar; it was April 10 on the calendar when he was born — one might accurately note that Lenin’s mother always said he was born on April 10.
It’s a hoax. There is no meaning to the first Earth Day’s falling on Lenin’s birthday — Lenin was not prescient enough to plan his birthday to fall in the middle of Earth Week, a hundred years before Earth Week was even planned.
Does Earth Day Promote Communism?
Earth Day 1970 was initially conceived as a teach-in, modeled on the teach-ins used successfully by Vietnam War protesters to spread their message and generate support on U.S. college campuses. It is generally believed that April 22 was chosen for Earth Day because it was a Wednesday that fell between spring break and final exams—a day when a majority of college students would be able to participate.
U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the guy who dreamed up the nationwide teach-in that became Earth Day, once tried to put the whole “Earth Day as communist plot” idea into perspective.
“On any given day, a lot of both good and bad people were born,” Nelson said. “A person many consider the world’s first environmentalist, Saint Francis of Assisi, was born on April 22. So was Queen Isabella. More importantly, so was my Aunt Tillie.”
April 22 is also the birthday of J. Sterling Morton, the Nebraska newspaper editor who founded Arbor Day (a national holiday devoted to planting trees) on April 22, 1872, when Lenin was still in diapers. Maybe April 22 was chosen to honor Morton and nobody knew. Maybe environmentalists were trying to send a subliminal message to the national subconscious that would transform people into tree-planting zombies. One birthday “plot” seems just about as likely as the other. What’s the chance that one person in a thousand could tell you when either of these guys were born.
My guess is that only a few really wacko conservatives know that April 22 is Lenin’s birthday (was it ever celebrated in the Soviet Union?). No one else bothers to think about it, or say anything about it, nor especially, to celebrate it.
Certainly, the Soviet Union never celebrated Earth Day. Nor was Lenin any great friend of the environment. He stood instead with the oil-drillers-without-clean-up, with the strip-miners-without-reclamation, with the dirty-smokestack guys. You’d think someone with a bit of logic and a rudimentary knowledge of history could put that together.
The REAL founder of Earth Day, Wisconsin’s U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, usually recognized as the founder and father of Earth Day, told how and why the organizers came to pick April 22:
Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in.” He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet; it did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22.
In his own words, Nelson spoke of what he was trying to do:
After President Kennedy’s [conservation] tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called “teach-ins,” had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?
I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.
At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.
Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:
“Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned….”
Nelson, a veteran of the U.S. armed services (Okinawa campaign), flag-waving ex-governor of Wisconsin (Sen. Joe McCarthy’s home state, but also the home of Aldo Leopold and birthplace of John Muir), was working to raise America’s consciousness and conscience about environmental issues.
Lenin on the environment? Think of the Aral Sea disaster, the horrible pollution from Soviet mines and mills, and the dreadful record of the Soviet Union on protecting any resource. Lenin believed in exploiting resources and leaving the spoils to rot in the sun, not conservation; in practice there was no environmental protection, but instead a war on nature, in the Soviet Union.
So, why are all these conservative denialists claiming, against history and politics, that Lenin’s birthday has anything to do with Earth Day?
Can you say “propaganda?” Can you say “political smear?”
2017 Resources and Good News:
2015 Resources and Good News:
2014 Resources and Good News:
2013 Resources and Good News:
Good information for 2012:
Good information from 2011:
Good information from 2010:
2014’s Wall of Shame:
2013 Wall of Shame:
Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2012:
Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2011:
Wall of Lenin’s Birthday Propaganda Shame from 2010:
Spread the word. Have you found someone spreading the hoax, claiming Earth Day honors Lenin instead? Give us the link in comments.
It’s cruel to people who want to fly U.S. flags often, but only on designated flag-flying dates. (April is also National Poetry Month, so it’s a good time to look up poetry references we should have committed to heart).
For 2022, these are the three dates for flying the U.S. flag; Easter is a national date, the other two are dates suggested for residents of the states involved.
One date, nationally, to fly the flag. That beats March, which has none (in a year with Easter in April and not March). But March has five statehood days, to April’s two.
Take heart! You may fly your U.S. flag any day you choose, or everyday as many people do in Texas (though, too many do not retire their flags every evening . . .).
Three dates to fly Old Glory in April, by the Flag Code and other laws on memorials and commemorations.
A museum display DFW school kids should get out to see, “The Green Book,” at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
Press release from Texas Christian University tells the story well.
TCU professor is curator of The Green Book, an exhibit launching this month at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
One of the ultimate freedoms is that of the open road – the simple act of driving a car when or wherever you want to go. But in Jim Crow America, a road trip for Black travelers was far from liberating. In fact, a drive outside of the neighborhood was dangerous, especially in the South.
“Imagine that it’s the 1950s. You are Black and your children are in the back seat of your car and you’re going on a trip,” said Frederick Gooding Jr., Dr. Ronald E. Moore Honors Professor of Humanities. “Think how much of a threat it was to find a safe place to eat and sleep in terms of avoiding humiliation or violence. Even a gas station could be a risky proposition. You needed a resource for your family’s safety and protection because the stakes were so high.”
That resource was the Negro Motorist Green Book, published from the 1930s until 1966, a mere two years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act financially penalized racial segregation for the first time. The handbook provided a state-by-state list of hotels, service stations, restaurants and other establishments considered safe for Black travelers.
The associate professor of African-American studies and chair of TCU’s Race & Reconciliation Initiative, Gooding is now helping to share the story about the book and its originator, Victor Hugo Green. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History approached Gooding to be chief curator of its new exhibition, “Fort Worth and the Green Book: Black Travelers Navigating Racism in Mid-Century Texas,” opening Feb. 11.
While the 2018 Academy Award-winning movie Green Book may have introduced the same title to many Americans, Gooding notes that the exhibit certainly takes a different path.
“Whether you’re 6 or 60, this exhibit will help set the tone for how bizarre and befuddling it was for African Americans to have to navigate a Jim Crow society and to heighten awareness of our relative progress,” Gooding said. “It’s been a treat to be part of the creation process as well as provide an opportunity for exposure.”
Morgan Rehnberg, the museum’s project leader, said it was clear that Gooding would be an ideal partner.
“His scholarship on race and culture, as well as his leadership at TCU in addressing the university’s history with race, has given him a unique perspective on Fort Worth,” Rehnberg said. “It’s been tremendously fun to see his enthusiasm shine into every aspect of the exhibition.”
After receiving a grant, the museum acquired the materials for the exhibit. As a historian, Gooding looked for ways to make it accessible.
“We started from scratch in creating a balanced exhibit that has many layers. That helps to bring The Green Book to life, and there’s something for everyone,” he said “It’s been an interesting ride looking to reconcile introducing people to a topic while providing them with enough tools to discover the truth for themselves.”
The exhibit is expected to be seen by close to 300,000, including many school groups, before it’s taken down in August. In conjunction with the exhibit, Gooding will present as part of the museum’s lecture series Feb. 21. His “Navigating the Road to Reconciliation” talk will explore how to leverage a multiplicity of voices and support the principles of reconciliation. For visitor information, visit Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
Tip of the old scrub brush to TCU’s Twitter feed.
On Twitter, this photo is, “Once-feral cat sleeping, totally at ease and fearing no predator.”
Xena came to us a couple years ago, rescued from the alleys of New York City by our daughter-in-law and our son. A small cat abandoned by her mother, she was preyed upon by every tomcat and larger cat in the neighborhood.
When the cat rescuers brought her in, got her doctored up and neutered, she refused to go back outside. So she was transplanted.
Now she sleeps peacefully, doesn’t fight for food — often shares. She provides great companionship for the humans here, too.
Neil R. Kaye toils in the Met Office, the weather service for Great Britain. He tracks global heating as a vocation, and does very good explanations.
Recently he posted on Twitter, with a great little movie:
Lesson is, we need to act now. The faster and harder we can act to block global heating, the greater chance we have of saving a place for humans on this planet without massive loss.
Check out his thread on Twitter.
See this chart by a frequent quality poster @TheDisproof, a static graph of heating since 1880.
As I suspected, some U.S. Senators have been exploring Senate Rules for ways to shut down filibusters and other delaying tactics, but mainly to find a path around Republican filibustering of voting protection legislation.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) laid it out tonight, after Republicans blocked action on the John R. Lewis Act.
It’s likely Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knows this path exists. But if Whitehouse is right, knowing the rules and being able to overcome them are two different things.
Every Senate wonk should take a look at Sen. Whitehouse’s plan.
One is my DISCLOSE Act being in the bill. Republicans must vote against it for their dark-money donors, but that kills them with voters. Ditto gerrymandering. Lots of focus on those painful votes for them in the bill will help.
Another is the Senate speak-twice rule. Senators who’ve spoken twice on a question can be ruled out of order if they keep at it. That’s why real filibusters were long, uninterrupted speeches. Not one and done, but two and done. (Yup, that’s 100 speeches by Rs — sorry!)
The motion to table allows the Senate to clear the decks of amendments. Each requires a vote, but is not debatable. Week after week, even through weekends, table the bad amendments.
“Dilatory” motions, amendments and other delaying mischief can be ruled out of order by the presiding officer. It takes a fair amount of nonsense before it becomes clearly dilatory, but it’s then a simple point of order—no vote.
There can be a vote to overrule the call, which is debatable; but when that fails, whatever motion or amendment was ruled dilatory ends.
So it’s painful, and long, and you have to exhaust Republican speakers and table or stop dilatory motions and amendments, but you can get to a simple majority vote — eventually.
One objection is that the Senate cannot afford to concentrate on one issue for so long. I wager that there is a lot of other business that can be conducted anyway, but Republicans would try to monkeywrench that stuff, too.
Taking a longer perspective, can we afford to let a tiny minority of Americans hold off action while they continue to plot to bring down our government?
Make no mistake that is what this is about.
Found this on Twitter from Jason Looney (@jlooney2). He responded to a post by Republican National Chairman Ronna McDaniel.
We’ve never seen anything like this, its the most jobs in any calendar year by any president in history.
Record GDP growth.
How? The American Rescue Plan and 200 million vax’d.
I have no great idea who Mr. Looney is. But he should look for a spot on a campaign communications team.
I wish that message were more widely known.
Beinecke Library at Yale is a repository for Rachel Carson’s papers, and much more.
Including this beguiling photo of Rachel Carson’s cat investigating the typewriter on which she wrote Silent Spring.
Researchers into Rachel Carson should check the on-line holdings of the Beinecke Library.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Yale’s Beinecke Library on Twitter.
You did remember that New Years Day is the first day to fly U.S. flags in 2022, under the U.S. Flag Code and other laws and regulations, right?
Happy New Year.
Thomas Nast may have done as much as Abraham Lincoln to invent the Republican Party.
Nast’s illustration for Harper’s Weekly for the issue of December 31, 1864, expressed his great desire for an end to the Civil War, and offered a vision of what could happen when arms were put down.
An explanation of the illustration comes from The New York Times Learning page (for teachers — you’re invited):
As the Union military advanced across the South in December 1864, making Confederate defeat seem to be only a matter of time, artist Thomas Nast drew a holiday illustration betokening mercy for the vanquished and sectional reconciliation for the nation. Under the Christmas proclamation of “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men,” President Abraham Lincoln is the gracious host who generously welcomes the Confederates—President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and state governors—in from the cold, and gestures for them to return to their rightful seats at the sumptuous feast of the states. Seated at the table are the governors of the Union states, and on the wall behind them appear portraits of leading Union generals.
Framing the main banquet scene are four circular insets that convey the message that if the Confederacy will lay down its arms, surrender unconditionally, and be contrite, then the Union will be merciful and joyously welcome them back into the fold. Viewing them clockwise from the upper-left, the symbolic figure of Victory, backed by the American Eagle, offers the olive branch of peace to a submissive Confederate soldier; the forgiving father from the biblical parable embraces his wayward son, whose sorrow for his past rebellion prompts the father to honor his son with a celebratory dinner; under the tattered American flag, the ordinary soldiers of the Union and Confederacy reunite happily as friends and brothers after the Confederate arms and battle standards have been laid on the ground; and, General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander, bows respectfully and offers his sword in unconditional surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant, the commander of the Union troops. In the lower-center is a scene from a holiday table at which a Northern family drinks a toast to the Union servicemen.
While Nast could be partisan, as in his portrayal of Democrats as mules kicking down a barn, or Republicans as noble elephants, and Nast could be subject to bigotry, as in his frequent jabs at Catholics and his portrayal of Irish immigrants as near-gorillas, much of his work in illustration for Harper’s and other publications offered a vision of a much better America which welcomed everyone — as his later portrayal of “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving” in 1869 demonstrated.
We could use more Republicans, and newspapermen, like the hopeful Nast, today (leave the bigotry behind).
Christmas Day, December 25, is one of the holidays designated in the U.S. Flag Code for U.S. residents to fly the flag.
No, you don’t take the flag down for mere inclement weather; fly it through rain and snow. Remember to dry your flag before putting it away.
November offers several flag flying days, especially in years when there is an election.
But December may be the month with the most flag-flying dates, when we include statehood days.
December 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It’s not in the Flag Code, but public law (P.L. 103-308) urges that the president should issue a proclamation asking Americans to fly flags.
December 25 is Christmas Day, a federal holiday, and one of the score of dates designated in the Flag Code. If you watch your neighborhood closely, you’ll note even some of the most ardent flag wavers miss posting the colors on this day, as they do on Thanksgiving and New Years and Easter.
Nine states attained statehood in December! People in those states should fly their flags (and you may join them). Included in this group is Delaware, traditionally the “First State,” called that because it was the first former England colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution:
December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, marking the day in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was declared ratified; but though this event generally gets a presidential proclamation, there is no law or executive action that requires flags to fly on that date, for that occasion.
Eleven flag-flying dates in December. Does any other month have as many flag flying opportunities?
Have I missed any December flag-flying dates? 11 events on 10 days (Delaware’s statehood falls on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack).
Here’s a list of the 10 days to fly the flag in December 2021, under national law, in chronological order:
Fly your flag with respect, for the flag, for the republic it represents, and for all those who sacrificed that it may wave on your residence.
You’re planning for the big day, the big turkey (or vegan equivalent), you’re wondering how to time everything . . .
Just a reminder to patriots and sunshine patriots that Thanksgiving is one of those days designated in the U.S. Flag Code as a day for citizens to fly Old Glory. Plan to put your flag out early, you won’t have to worry about it all day.
It’s a great time to recall that the purposes of Thanksgiving usually start with expressing gratitude to and with all of our neighbors, as a means of binding us together as a community, a people, and a nation. And sometimes, an entire world, as cartoonist Joseph Keppler imagined. Recognizing that fellowship is not the rule now, as it wasn’t the rule when Keppler called out our hypocrisy then.
To better times to come.
(More explanation from the Library of Congress: Print shows Puck standing on a chair at the head of a large dinner table, offering a Thanksgiving toast to those seated around the table, including “England, France, Germany, [Japan?], Russia, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Uncle Sam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Brazil, [and] Mexico”. Most of the European countries, as well as Mexico and Brazil, are glaring at their neighbors, with the exception of Russia where Nicholas II attempts to look pious. Turkey appears to be trying to stifle laughter. Uncle Sam seems to be the only one enjoying the toast. Puerto Rico, holding an American flag, and Hawaii are expressionless.)
Our traditional Thanksgiving post wishing for peace:
November 1869, in the first year of the Grant administration — and Nast put aside his own prejudices enough to invite the Irish guy to dinner, along with many others. (Nast tended not to like Catholics, and especially Irish Catholics.)
In a nation whose emotions are still raw from a divisive election, a year of protest for the right to live, a year of too-long-continued deadly plague, unwarranted, horrifying assaults on police officers, not to mention daily horrors reported from Venezuela, Central America, East Timor and Indonesian New Guinea, Syria, Belarus, Asia and the Middle East, could there be a better or more timely reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing?
A Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub tradition: Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving. History teachers should use the image — and if you’re teaching history at home to students working hard to avoid getting ill, you should use it, too. If you’re teaching in Texas . . . well, there’s something here to make everyone angry, but anger is allowed under the new history censorship rules, right?
(Click for a larger image — it’s well worth it.)
“Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner” marks the highpoint of Nast’s Reconstruction-era idealism. By November 1869 the Fourteenth Amendment, which secures equal rights and citizenship to all Americans, was ratified. Congress had sent the Fifteenth Amendment, which forbade racial discrimination in voting rights, to the states and its ratification appeared certain. Although the Republican Party had absorbed a strong nativist element in the 1850s, its commitment to equality seemed to overshadow lingering nativism, a policy of protecting the interests of indigenous residents against immigrants. Two national symbols, Uncle Sam and Columbia, host all the peoples of the world who have been attracted to the United States by its promise of self-government and democracy. Germans, African Americans, Chinese, Native Americans, Germans, French, Spaniards: “Come one, come all,” Nast cheers at the lower left corner.
One of my Chinese students identified the Oriental woman as Japanese, saying it was “obvious.” Other friends say both are Chinese. Regional differences. The figure at the farthest right is a slightly cleaned-up version of the near-ape portrayal Nast typically gave Irishmen.
If Nast could put aside his biases to celebrate the potential of unbiased immigration to the U.S. and the society that emerges, maybe we can, too.
Hope your Thanksgiving week is good; hope you have good company and good cheer, turkey or not, traveling or not, company or not. Stay safe. Happy Thanksgiving 2021. And of course, remember to fly your flag, to show you agree with Nast’s inclusive Thanksgiving.
More: Earlier posts from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
And in 2013: